Healthy Aging and Safety Tips for Seniors
The kids are grown and out of the house, you’ve finally retired, and you have more time to enjoy yourself than ever before. To make sure your golden years stay extra shiny, you’ll want to reassess your health, lifestyle and safety plans—and make changes now to get ahead of your future needs. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Not only does physical activity help prevent common health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, but regular exercise can also lower stress and improve your mood!
Make exercise a regular part of your lifestyle and choose activities you enjoy. This can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes each morning through your neighborhood, participating in online exercise videos, or taking senior-friendly fitness classes at your local club. We offer a wide range of fitness classes such as Silversneakers®, Aqua Zumba, Chair Yoga, Forever Fit, and Zumba® Gold that help you stay active and feel great. These classes are designed to help maintain your muscle strength and endurance, and you can even do these activities with friends or family to make working out more fun! If classes aren’t your style, you can also swim laps in the pool or use our resistance machines and free weights for a more tailored workout.
Maintain a healthy diet
Along with consistent exercise, maintaining a well-balanced diet is another important part of staying safe and healthy as a senior. In your meals, incorporate foods high in fiber and nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Do your best to avoid processed and fried foods by eating fresh produce and making home meals, and lower your sodium intake to prevent high blood pressure. If cooking healthy meals is too time consuming, consider preparing your meals for the week beforehand to ensure you aren’t tempted to indulge in fast food!
Don’t forget to drink around 2.7 – 3.7 liters of water a day to stay hydrated as well. Drinking fluids can improve your energy levels and brain function, reduce inflammation, and can also help prevent you from overeating!
Create a safe home environment
No matter how active and healthy you are, you should ensure your living environment is safe and suitable for your needs as you get older to prevent future injuries. Especially if you plan on aging in place later on in life, having a safe and secure home is essential for staying healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle as a senior!
When examining your home, be proactive and look for ways to make your space accessible for your future needs. For instance, you might consider replacing carpeted floors with hardwood for easier access and mobility, along with removing throw rugs, unnecessary furniture, and clutter as they can be bulky and become extra barriers when moving around your home. Another important room to focus on is your bathroom, as falls are very common here due to slippery surfaces. For your safety, install grab bars in the shower and put non-slip mats in the bathtub. If you want extra support, you can also replace your bathtub with a walk-in shower for easier access as you age.
Although these home modifications may seem premature, they will pay off in the long run as you grow older and can even increase the resale value of your home! If you need help funding these renovations, consider using money from your retirement savings or research other financing options like utilizing your home's equity. A home equity loan can be a smart option for these updates as you’ve likely built up a sizable amount of equity in your home over the years, and can deduct the interest for home improvement projects.
Prioritize your mental health
Getting older can have its challenges, but focusing on your mental health and reducing stress can help you stay happy as you age! Small lifestyle changes like working out, participating in activities you enjoy, and spending more time with loved ones can help you make the most out of your golden years. If you feel like you’re lacking social connection with others, try adopting a pet for company, joining a club, or participating in new hobbies to meet people. Getting older is a special time to cherish, so live these years to the fullest by focusing on your physical and mental health!